Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 08:50 Written by Jo Grey Friday, 27 January 2012 11:59
Here you can learn about our intrepid Maniac Endocrine Nomads and what it is that's driving them to do something as daft as trek 100km through the blistering sands of the Sahara Desert, as well as how you can show your support:
Kathy Rice (USA)
“My husband John has MEN type 2b. It's a really rare disease that causes cancers of the endocrine system and tends to mess with the body in other ways throughout life. Type 2b wasn't identified as a disease until the 1970s, and there are still a lot of questions about treatment and what someone like John can expect in his or her future.
“Many surgeries later, John now lives minus 4 major bodily organs, but thankfully for now he has no further cancer growth. He is pretty awesome really. I'm doing this to bring attention to MEN the disease and help raise money for much needed medical research.”
We think Kathy is 'awesome' too! If you agree, donate to Kathy's fundraising efforts at her page on Virginmoneygiving.com
Al Rice (USA)
Albert is Kathy's father and is also travelling all the way from the USA to participate. Al is the oldest (and therefore hopefully the wisest) member of the Maniacs - there's an ironic twist there!
Please show your appreciation to our 'Wise Maniac' by donating to Al's fundraising efforts at his page on Virginmoneygiving.com
Jo Grey (UK)
If, like Jo, you do mad things because you don't like being left out, donate to Jo's fundraising efforts at her page on Virginmoneygiving.com!
"I have MEN2a and therefore no thyroid gland, no adrenal glands, and no parathyroid glands - I exist thanks to my medication. Heat and an upset stomach are a real risk in this situation but I will be well-prepared with a mobile medicine cabinet! I am not known for my ability to exercise but if ever there was an excuse (or more importantly, a need), this is it! I am so excited to be part of this great little team, raising much-needed cash for research into MEN and associated endocrine tumours. Rare diseases like MEN have been side-lined for too long and we now need to be able to offer the very best treatments to these families."
Read Jo’s blog, ‘Sahara Babe’, charting one woman’s feeble attempts to get fit before a 100km trek in searing Saharan heat in 2012 to raise money for research into multiple endocrine neoplasia. …read more
Alan Grey (UK)
Alan is Jo Grey's husband and long-time wing man on such ridiculous endeavours - some say 'long-suffering' which is probably true too! Alan was bullied into taking part by Jo, and therefore deserves your financial support.
If you know the value of a supportive 'other half', please donate to Alan’s fundraising efforts at his page on Virginmoneygiving
Lois Grey (UK)
Lois is Jo and Alan Grey's eldest child who will be just 16 at the time of the trek. Lois is looking forward to this unique experience and to raising money for research into the disorders affecting her mum and younger brother. Jo and Alan are taking bets (in aid of AMEND of course) as to how long she will last without hair straighteners and her mobile phone!
Do you empathise with Lois' teen angst? If so, you can help by donating to Lois's fundraising efforts at her page on Virginmoneygiving
Marion (& Mike) Pidgeon (UK)
“I have been diagnosed with MEN 1 for about 14 years. Initially I was shocked – serious illness happens to other people – not me.
“I’m a yoga teacher, I take care of my body, practise meditation, relaxation and all the things which are meant to keep you healthy. I had 3/4 of my pancreas removed in 1998 and also 3 of my parathyroids. I had to stop teaching for a few months, and then I went back to work. I also have pituitary prolactinomas which are controlled by drug, and tumours on the adrenals which are being monitored. In 2005 my calcium began to climb again and a 4th parathyroid was removed. I have severe bouts of diaorrhea and nausea, which are kept under control by proton pump inhibitors.
“Initially I was angry about my illness – I'd done my best to stay healthy and ended up with a genetic condition which was beyond my control. However, with careful monitoring and regular tests, I am able to lead a relatively normal life. As I have come to terms with my condition I have tried to keep myself as healthy as possible and to learn as much as I can about the illness.
“I feel that trekking the Sahara will be a way of conquering the idea that if you have a serious illness life has to become more restricted, and that you have to limit the things which you would like to achieve. It will be my way of proving to myself (and other family members) that at 63 years of age there is still plenty to achieve and enjoy, and that life is too short to focus on the negative aspects. I also think that as well as being a challenge, it will be an amazing experience and a chance to discover just what I am capable of doing.
“It will also be a way of building research funds to enable doctors and nurses to learn more about the illness and gather vital information about the condition, and my way of saying a big thank you to AMEND for all its support and care.”
If you love yoga, donate to Marion's fundraising efforts at her page on Virginmoneygiving.com!
Chris Mitchell (UK)
Chris has MEN1 but that's not going to stop him from pushing himeself to the limit on this challenge. Before even this, Chris ran in the British 10k London Run back on July 8th for AMEND as training for the trek (pictured left with wife Melanie who also ran). Is there no stopping this man?!
Help Chris keep up this momentum by donating to his Sahara fundraising efforts at his page on Virginmoneygiving.com
Kelly McGee (USA)
Kelly is the third and final member of the US Maniacs contingent, also from Washington.
If you agree with us that she is a fabulous friend to Kelly and John, donate to her fundraising efforts at her page on Virginmoneygiving.com.